Skills acquisition in Cameroon: How well does the secondary school curriculum equip school leavers for employment?

Ernest Nkamta


The growing need for the secondary education system to produce school leavers with capabilities in terms of skills and attitudes useful for solving youth unemployment challenges has prompted education reforms in Cameroon. Many school leavers, especially those from the secondary general education sector in the country after completing various levels are not easily integrated into the job market due to their lack of employable skills that were not imbibed into them during their training (Esongo, 2017). Despite the government’s efforts at restructuring the educational system and redefine its goals to address youth unemployment and social development, recent evidence suggests that Cameroon has achieved little success (Ibid). The ways in which vocational education can be incorporated in the curriculum of schools have been under-researched in Cameroon and stands as the need for vocational education, rather than a constitutive part of the curriculum development process. My research aims to fill the gap by exploring the perceptions of stakeholders in education for developing a broad-based curriculum that incorporates employability skills at the secondary school level. A qualitative case study approach through interviews and questionnaires was applied in this study. The findings indicated that there is a significant relationship between curriculum development, employability skills acquisition, youth unemployment and the efficiency of the school system. It is thus recommended that the government and education authorities should further refine their focus on needed skills to strengthen and enhance youth unemployment; and thus, provide additional positive outcomes for students by enhancing future curriculum development grounded in practice.


Employability Skills; Curriculum Development; vocational education

Full Text:



Ali, F.A, Y. Long, F.A. Zainol and M. Mansor (2012): Students’ Self Perceived Importance of Employability Skills needed: A Case Study in University of Sultan Zainal Abidin (UNISZA), Malasia.Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Management held between 11th-12th June at Langkawi Kedah, Malaysia.

Almeida, R., Behrman, J., and Robalino, D., (2012). “The right skills for the job? Rethinking training policies for workers.” World Bank Publications, World Bank, Washington, DC.

Audu R., Yusri Bin Kamin And Muhammed Sukri Bin Saud (2013); Acquisition of Employability Skills in Technical Vocational Education; Necessity For The 21st Century Workforce. Aust Journal Basic and Applied Sci. 7(6):9-14

Barrie, S. 2005. Rethinking Generic Graduate Attributes. HERDSA News: University of Sydney, Australia.

Bennet, Dunne and Carre (2000): Skills Development in Higher Education and Employment. Journal of Higher Education. Volume 42 (1): 141-142

Billing, D., 2003. Generic cognitive abilities in higher education: An international analysis of skills sought by stakeholders. Compare, 33(3), 335-350.

Boahin, P., Kamphorst, J.C. & Hofman, W.H.A. (2010). Tracer study outcomes in Ghana. Accra: NCTE.

Clough, P. and Nutbrown, C., (2012). A student's guide to methodology. London: Sage Publications.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K., (2011). Research methods in education (7th Edition). London: Routledge.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K., (2007). Research methods in education (6th Edition). London: Routledge.

Dacre Pool, L., & Sewell, P. (2007). The key to employability: developing a practical model of graduate employability. Education and Training, 49(4), 227-289. DOI: 10.1108/00400910710754435

Denscombe, M., (2014). The good research guide for small scale social research projects, (5th ed), Mc Graw Hill, Berkshire.

Denscombe, M., 3rd Edn. 2007. The Good Research Guide: For Small-scale Social Research. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Esongo, N, M., (2017). Correlation between the Availability of Resources and Efficiency of the School System within the Framework of the Implementation of Competency-Based Teaching Approaches in Cameroon. Journal of Education and Practice, available at: file:///C:/Users/zoouser/Desktop/research%20documents%20employability/35076-38083-1-PB.pdf, accessed on 20/07/2016.

Forzie, G., (1990). The Effect of English and French colonial policies on the development of technical and vocational education in Cameroon. M.Ed. School of Education, Bolton Institute of Higher Education.

Grundy, S. (1987) Curriculum: product or praxis? Lewes: Falmer Press.

Heckman, J. J., & Kautz, T., 2012. Hard evidence on soft skills. Labour Economics, 19(4), 451–464.

International Labour Organisation, ILO (2013). Global employment trends 2013: Recovering from a second jobs dip / International Labour Office. Geneva: ILO, 2013 International Labour Office

ILO, 2009b ILO issues revised global unemployment projections; unemployment in Asia Pacific could top 100 million people. Geneva, ILO, Retrieved on 7 October 2014.

Kelly, A. V. (2009) Curriculum: Theory and Practice, University of London: Sage.

Kitta, S., & Tilya, F. N. (2010). The status of learner-centred learning and assessment in Tanzania in the context of the competence-based curriculum. Papers in Education and Development, 29, 77-91.

Kvale S., (2007). Doing interviews. London: SAGE Publications.

Kvale, S. and Brinkmann S. (2008), Interviews, learning the craft of qualitative Research Interviewing, Sage Publication, London

Mbangwana, L., (1996). The Development of Technical and Vocational Education in Africa. "TVE in Cameroon" UNESCO Office Dakar, Senegal.

Mcquaid, R., Green A. AND Danson M., (2006). ‘The Concept of Employability’ in mcquaid R., Green A. And Danson M. (eds.) Employability and Local Labour Market Policy, Routledge, Abingdon.

Newby, P., (2010). Research Methods for Education. United Kingdom. PEARSON: London.

OECD. (2012). Employment Outlook, United Kingdom, OECD Publishing, Paris.

Oni, C.S., (2007): Globalization and its implication for Vocational Education in Nigeria. Essays in Education: 21(1): 30-34.

Ornstein A.C. & Hunkins, F.P. (2009). Curriculum foundations, principles and issues. (5th ed). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Penn. T. P., (2016). Skills Oriented Higher Education and Graduate Employability in Cameroon: The Case of the National Employment Fund International Journal of New Technology and Research (IJNTR) ISSN:2454-4116, Volume-2, Issue-5, May 2016 Pages 26-29

Pring, R., (2009). Education for All: The Future of Education and Training for 14-19 Year Olds. London: Routledge, Print.

Quintini, G., and Sebastien M., (2006). “Starting well or losing their way? The position of youth in the labour market in OECD countries.” OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 39, Paris.

Robinson, K., (2011). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative. Chichester: Capstone.

Sapsford, R., and JUPP, V., 2008. Data collection and analysis, Sage Publication

Scott, D., and Morrison, M., 2007. Key ideas in educational research. London: Continuum.

Schulz B. (2008): The Importance of Soft Skills: Education beyond Academic Knowledge. Nawa Journal of Communication; 2(1): 146-154

Shakir R. (2009): Soft Skills at Malaysian Institute of Higher Learning. Asia Pacific Education Review 10 (3): 309-315

Sheehan, J. (1986) ‘Curriculum models: product versus process’ in Journal of Advanced Nursing, v1 p671-678. Retrieved on 20/10/2013 from http://www Curriculum_modelsproduct_versus_process.pdf

Shivpuri, S., and Kim, B., (2004). Do employers and colleges see eye-to-eye? College student development and assessment. NIACE Journal, 65(1), 37-44

Silverman, D., (2011). Interpreting qualitative data, 4th Edition, London, Sage

Publications Ltd.

Unwin, L. AND Wellington, J., (2001). Young People’s Perspectives on Education, Training and Employment. London: Kogan Page.

Van Rooy, W. S., (2005). Curriculum Reform in the secondary school – the voices of experienced biology teachers. Retrieved on 20/09/16 from /publications/2005/van05628.pdf

Walford, G., (2001). Doing Qualitative Educational Research. London: Continuum.

Winch, C. (2000). Impact No. 4 New Labour and the future of training: Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.

Yek, T. M. and Dawn Penney (2006) ‘Curriculum as Praxis: Ensuring Quality Technical Education in Singapore for the 21st Century.’ In Education policy analysis archives: A peer-reviewed scholarly journal v14n26 October

Yin, R. K., (2014). Case study research: Design and methods (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Print version:    1694-2620
Online version: 1694-2639